Temporary Monongalia County mine layoffs could be indefinite

WAJR file image
WAJR file image

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County commissioners are learning more about the impact of Murray Energy’s mining cutbacks.

The commission received a certified letter Wednesday that broke down the number of workers facing unemployment later this summer.

“It’s the numbers that really concern us. 428 employees from UMWA. Then, non-union, 160 employees. You’re looking at 588 employees in Monongalia County who are going to lose their jobs,” said Commission President Tom Bloom.

Murray had already furloughed several hundred workers earlier this year because of large stockpiles.

According to Bloom, a superintendent wrote that temporary layoffs will be converted to an indefinite duration.

“The concern is not only for them, their families and the economic impact it’s going to have in Monongalia County, there’s a mental and psychological loss too,” Bloom explained. “We need to make sure we’re there for them. Hopefully we can offer alternatives and training.”

The mass layoffs are expected from July 24 through August 17.

Friday, Murray released a statement to the media that indicated the 589 workers at the Monongalia County Coal Company were told some of them will be laid off indefinitely effective July 21, 2015. Corporate representatives did not indicate how many of those miners could be out of work.